Archive for the ‘escape from phoenix’ Category

A BOB (Bug-Out-Bag) is a pre-packed backpack everyone should have ready in case the SHTF (Shit Hits the Fan).  One’s BOB should include the following things; Duck tape, canned foods, a can opener, knee-pads, gloves, a change in underwear, a poncho, a flashlight, spare batteries, a map of the surrounding area, first aid kit, pharmacetucals, toilet paper, a deck of cards, iodine tablets, a knife and cordage.

One does not need the following things in their BOB; vintage license plates, your beenie baby collection, the complete Firefly box set, your old wedding dress, a tuxedo, your x-box, back issues of Martha Stewart’s Living magazines, cable television, anything ever written by Jacki Collins,  roller blades, or coupons.

2 weeks of food?

For my June 29th feature at Conspire in beautiful downtown Phoenix I am bringing my spare BOB.  If anyone  reads something about the fall of civilization as we know it, you can reach in and take one item from my BOB.

This last weekend I took the Complete Survivor Class from Ancient Pathways.  I picked up a whole series of skills to practice. Notice I said “practice” because, good lord, just cause I did these things once doesn’t mean I am actually competent at any of them.   We set traps, snares, tracked, snacked on plants, made jerky and stared at a whole lot of poop.

The class had many manly men and two lovely ladies.  I think it is fair to say that I was generally the least competent at just about everything.  Except for smoking bowls, this I was good at, and by smoking bowls, I mean making a bowl out of fire.

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One of the first things we learned that weekend was to whittle out a spoon. Which was handy as I had forgotten to bring a spoon, and only had a fork and knife. My spoon was incompetent. I routinely watched, for the rest of the weekend, as people whittled out far superior spoons and then pitch them in the fire.

I was a bit nervous at the start of the weekend.  First, I wasn’t sure if I was in the sort of shape to survive such a thing.  Second it snowed the night before in Flagstaff.  I was not expecting snow in mid-May in Arizona.

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This had me concerned.  In assessing my clothes the first cold morning of the class I realized if the cold held I would not be able to stay warm without looking perfectly ridiculous.  First rule of survival is PMA (Postive Mental Attitude) which is hard to do when one doesn’t look good while doing it.  O.K., maybe the first rule is only the PMA part and I just added the looking good part.

The warmest thing I had was a thick wool poncho that I had bought years before in Mexico.  I was planning on using it for a blanket.  I have only worn it on stage for comedic relief,  and I am sure the ex-military men would have met it with scoff.    Luckily for me, things warmed up.

The first thing after setting up our tests was a walking tour of the property.   Tony Nester, our instructor, pointed out the various rat and mice nests around.  Of course, I had set my tent up right beside a big pack-rat’s nest.   Once he pointed it out, it was bluntly obvious.  I never moved my tent.  I figured if I had gophers in Phoenix, I could share space with a pack-rat.

Below:  My tent and pack-rat nest.

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The weekend was simply packed with new knowledge and things worth mulling over.   Here are all the shots from the weekend. As I reflect on lessons learned and go over my half-filled notebook, I will be making a series of posts about this weekend.

Up North, where there is winter, only the strong surivie.  In Michigan, a cat can have about one litter a year.  Here in Phoenix they can have three.  So Phoenix has a feral cat problem, much larger than cities outside of the sunbelt.  Lets assume that a feral cat living on wits alone is like living in the apocalypse.  The fact they can have three litters a year versus one provides further evidence that Phoenix is not that bad a place to be after the Apocalypse.

A report on what the Pueblo Ruins look like has already been commented on in a previous post.  This post is more about getting to the ruins and comments on the surrounding area.

The ruins I went to 7 years ago were NOT Pueblo Canyon, they were the appropriately named Devil’s Chasm Ruins.  The two sets of ruins are relatively close to each other (I would need to consult a topo map to determine how far, but the drive to the head of each trail is 2.9 miles apart.)  Devil’s Chasm is a much more difficult, even though a shorter hike.

We met a Park Ranger in the ruins and spoke with him for a while.  He mentioned another set of ruins called Cold Spring Ruins, which is his favorite, but according to the Ranger they are hard to find and many people don’t find them.   The fact that there are separate awesome places for a post-apocalypse desert bunker so close to together emphasizes how the area is a decent place to start rebuilding.

The drive in is around 24 miles down a dirt road off of HWY188 (the road between Globe and Roosevelt Lake).   On the dirt road you cross a river three times.  The fact there is such easy water to find in the area is awesome.  You pass (I think) two ranches and multiple cow pens.  I would assume the family’s that live in these two ranches are a hearty bunch.

Below: Crossing a river on the drive in.
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Despite the fact you cross the river three times I think my Honda civic could make it the first 20.5 miles.  However, I am not sure what the parking would be like.  The last 4 miles on most definitely needs 4WD, even better if you have high-clearance.    Here is the link to what I thought were the best directions to Pueblo Canyon.

If it turns nasty when society crumbles upon itself, one might want to get away from the falling trappings of civilization.  As discussed in an earlier post, I know of a ruin outside of town that I suspected would fit the bill.  However, as I hadn’t been in there in 7 years I needed to make a scouting trip.

Mike and I went this weekend.  Here is the preliminary report.

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Pueblo Canyon Report.

A sign along the 29 mile dirt ride in gives a description on the ruins. It states at one point “why they chose to utilize this challenging environmental zone is not yet fully understood.” Well, it seems pretty damn obvious to me. The ruins have a good, reliable (if not always year round) water source and is easy to defend.

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Mike and I counted 11 springs near the ruin, in addition to that waterfall that would be a perfect cold shower.

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The ruins would be easy to protect, especially if one had modern weaponry. The only real approach to the ruins is along a winding path on the opposite side of the canyon’s sliver. The trail snakes along the bottom of a tall rock wall on your left and an immediate drop-off to your right. With only one real way in, the approach works as the perfect shooting gallery. Not only that but one could easily drop dead trees upon the invading hordes from the ridge above.

Below: View from the ruins of the only approach.

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Below: View of the ruins from the approach. The ruins lay below the darkest band in the cliffs. They hide among the shadows and the dark rock.

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If one had/could produce enough food and the waterfall was running, it would be easy to sustain life for 300 to 400 people among the ruins. Assuming one would not mind damaging/altering the ruins once we only care about basic survival. In the meantime, if you visit, remember they are fragile and old. They stand as a record for times forgotten. Don’t harm them.

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Below: Second story door jam.

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The ruins consist of 4 buildings. Each building is a series of adjoring rooms. Each room could sleep around 6. Some buildings were 3 stories tall, some were 3 rooms deep. The walls are starting to lean, which means they might not last much longer, and many walls have already fallen. However, much of the raw material needed to build a permanent shelter is already there. Large logs for the roof and flat large stones for the walls lay scattered about. One would only need to learn how to make the mud adobe. It would take many hours of hard labor, just to clean the collapsed ceilings off the floors, but it could be done. Again, bring food. One might get hungry.

Below: Old school Adobe.
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Below: Collapsed roof.

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Below: Broken Wall
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Below: Despite the sharp cliffs one is living on, I don’t think it would be difficult to raise crops here. I was amazed by how green the canyon the ruins are in. Ferns, I saw ferns! Ferns, for those who don’t know, ferns are a rare treat in the desert.

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Below: Door Jam.
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 When I first moved in AZ 8 years ago I did a lot of hiking.  I stumbled across a hiking group that made was made up of a bunch of retired people and me.  Despite the fact I was looking more to meet some ladies my own age I kept going back because they took me to some pretty amazing places.
One of those places was a set of native American Ruins in Pueblo Canyon near Globe, AZ.  It is not an easy place to get to.  It is about 2 hour drive time from Phoenix on paved roads plus 2 hour drive time down a 4Wheeldirt road, and finally a 6 mile hike with a whole lot of bushwhacking to get through.  The exact directions are possible to find on the internet, but I am not sure if I want to link to them.  The ruins are amazing, but they are fragile.  I vaguely recall there being two springs there.
Below: Shot taken in the ruins, the ceiling was still intact in multiple places.
If the apocalypse hits my first choice is to stay hunkered down in my own house/compound.    FEMA and others recommend that you have an escape route planned and mapped out for emergencies that make you leave your home base.  Preferably your destination should be family or friends that live about 1.5 or 2 hours drive time away.  Unfortunately for me, my Mom and Dad are in North Carolina, my brother is in NYC, and all my friends in Arizona live in Phoenix.  However, I know a place in an old boarding town of Miami, AZ where I don’t think they would refuse me.
But if the giant-life turd hits the fan hard enough and it’s a good idea to escape all of uncivilization, I am heading to the ruins in Pueblo Canyon.  I figure I won’t be the only person heading there.  I would hope the only people who would know about this very hard to find place would be like-minded individuals.
I am trying to organize a mock-exodus/scouting mission over the April 30th weekend, but I need to find somebody willing to go with high clearance.